The final document of a landmark treaty review conference Friday would call on the U.N. secretary-general to convene the conference no later than March 2016, regardless of whether Israel and its neighbors agree on an agenda.
Israel is not a party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and has never publicly declared what is widely considered to be an extensive nuclear weapons program.
A conference might force Israel to acknowledge it.
Discussions on the draft document are continuing after a request from Iran.
That’s a key, but controversial, question for the federal government. Although it might seem distasteful to put a monetary value on a life, when federal agencies consider adopting new health and safety rules — or strengthening old ones — they often do just that and weigh the proposed rule’s costs against its lifesaving benefits. The lower value they give to a life, the easier it is for them to reject a proposed safety measure as too costly. Continue reading
American Ships in South China Sea May Lead to War Between US, China It seems the United States has found another playground for its war games. The National Interest reported that Washington plans to send its military ships and planes to patrol areas in the South China Sea stirring up an already tense situation in the region, where several nations have competing territorial claims.
The Asia-Pacific Region might be on the verge of a military conflict, as the United States is trying to incite several nations, including Japan and the Philippines, to gang up on China over the territorial disputes in the South China Sea.
Obama Signs Congress Review of Iran Nuclear Deal Bill Into Law NBC News Halimah Abdullah May 23rd 2015 President Barack Obama signed into law on Friday legislation giving lawmakers a chance to review any nuclear deal the White House seeks to hammer out with Iran.
The U.S. and five other world powers have crafted a delicate framework with Iran to keep it from developing nuclear weapons. The nuclear deal with Iran is a key part of the president’s foreign policy legacy, a fact he underscored during an interview this week with The Atlantic.
The law gives Congress at least a month to review the details of an agreement. During the review, the president would be prevented from lifting congressionally imposed sanctions on Iran……http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/iran-nuclear-talks/obama-signs-congress-review-iran-nuclear-deal-bill-law-n363476
Do we really want to tell governments all around the world, including the U.S., that if they pass
legislation protecting the well-being of their citizens they could pay substantial fines to multi-national corporations because of the loss of future profits? What an incredible undermining of democracy! But that’s exactly what will happen if the TPP goes into effect.
The TPP MUst Be Defeated http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rep-bernie-sanders/the-tpp-must-be defeated_b_7352166.html?utm_hp_ref=politics Sen. Bernie Sanders 22 May 15
Independent U.S. Senator from Vermont Congress is now debating fast track legislation that will pave the way for the disastrous Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) unfettered free trade agreement. At a time when our middle class is disappearing and the gap between the very rich and everyone else is growing wider, this anti-worker legislation must be defeated. Here are four reasons why.
First, the TPP follows in the footsteps of failed trade agreements like NAFTA, CAFTA, Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) with China, and the South Korea Free Trade agreement. Over and over again, supporters of these agreements told us that they would create jobs. Over and over again, they have been proven dead wrong. Continue reading
Federal ruling calls future of Diablo Canyon reactors into question http://www.foe.org/news/archives/2015-05-federal-ruling-calls-future-of-diablo-into-question May. 21, 2015 by: Kate Colwell Friends of the Earth: Decision is beginning of the end for troubled nuclear plant
WASHINGTON, D.C. – In a major victory that could mark the beginning of the end for the Diablo Canyon nuclear reactors, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commissioners have ruled that an Atomic Safety Licensing Board will decide whether Pacific Gas & Electric Co. was allowed to illegally alter the plant’s license. This alteration is an attempt to hide the risk from powerful earthquake faults discovered since it was designed and built. The Commission’s referral of the issue to the licensing board parallels a move that presaged the shutdown of Southern California Edison’s San Onofre nuclear plant two years ago.
“This is a major victory that could be the turning point for a nuclear-free future for California,” said Damon Moglen of Friends of the Earth, which had petitioned the NRC, saying that the secret amendment of the license was an illegal maneuver designed to avoid holding a public hearing on the issue as required by federal law. “PG&E now is following the same path that forced Southern California Edison to pull the plug on San Onofre,” Moglen said.
In a 3 -1 ruling released today, commissioners ruled that Friends of the Earth’s petition will now be considered by an expert panel of the licensing board. Friends of the Earth alleged that PG&E is operating the 1960-era nuclear reactors at Diablo Canyon in violation of their license and called for the reactors to be closed immediately pending public hearings to prove it is safe.
The Commission did not rule on closing the reactors pending public hearings, but ruled that the safety issues should now be considered by the Commission’s executive director for operations.
Today’s decision is all but identical to that by the Commission in November 2012 in response to a similar petition from Friends of the Earth regarding the damaged nuclear reactors at San Onofre. In that case, the licensing board ruled in May 2013 that public hearings should be held as part of a formal license amendment proceeding to assess the safety of San Onofre. When Edison announced the closure of San Onofre a few weeks later, they referred to the ASLB decision.
“This decision is indeed the beginning of the end for Diablo Canyon,” said Dave Freeman, former head of the federal Tennessee Valley Authority, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power and the Sacramento Municipal Utility District. “PG&E is not going to get away with running Diablo Canyon when the plant can not withstand the ground motion from the earthquake faults we now know surround these reactors,” said Freeman, a special advisor to Friends of the Earth.
The ruling comes days after the NRC sent PG&E a letter requiring the utility to conduct further seismic risk studies to show whether Diablo Canyon — California’s last nuclear plant, on the Pacific coast near San Luis Obispo — is operating within the bounds of its license. Diablo Canyon is one of only two nuclear plants the NRC classified as high priority for the seismic risk study.
Perhaps with his new $4 million Australia Consensus Center (covered here, here, here) Bjorn Lomborg may pick a better site than a US shipping storefront, since he’ll receive much more taxpayer money, directly, courtesy of the Australian government. That does seem simpler
Bjorn Lomborg’s Copenhagen Consensus Center – Real Charity Or “Foreign Conduit”? DeSmogBlog By John Mashey • Sunday, April 26, 2015 Bjørn Lomborg is founder and president of the Copenhagen Consensus CenterUSA (CCC)), a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) “public charity” whose US physical presence is shown in the image: 262 Middlesex St, Lowell MA. Lomborg and the Copenhagen Consensus Center are known to DeSmog readers for efforts to downplay the importance of addressing climate change, a subset of climate science denialism that has infected the public debate across the English-speaking world.
Despite the name, it has not been based in Copenhagen since 2011. Deputy Director Roland Mathiasson remains there, but Lomborg moved to Prague in 2012. Workers seem mostly in Hungary, with a few in the US. The Board is Lomborg, Mathiasson, Scott Calahan (Ft Lauderdale) and Loretta Michaels (Washington, DC). Although some money is used for fundraising and PR in the US, much goes abroad to Mathiasson and Lomborg, who is said to travel 200 days a year.
The “real location” of CCC is unclear, and the Internal Revenue Service often cares about this with charities.
Copenhagen Consensus Center is a textbook example of what the IRS calls a “foreign conduit” and it frowns strongly on such things. It may also frown on governance and money flows like this, perhaps “inurement”:
From attached Form 990 summary, more than 60% went directly to Lomborg, travel and $853K promotion of his movie. According to Wikipedia it grossed $63K and the movie poster shows a picture of Lomborg, a light bulb and heading:
“A LIGHT BULB WON’T SOLVE GLOBAL WARMING
THIS GUY’S BRIGHT IDEAS MIGHT“
Even in a simple US charity, poor governance and obvious conflicts of interest are troublesome, but the foreign element invokes stringent extra rules. Legitimate US charities can send money to foreign charities, but from personal experience, even clearly reasonable cases like foreign universities require careful handling. It is unclear that Lomborg himself is a legitimate charity anywhere, but most of the money seems under his control. One might also wonder where income taxes are paid.
A foreign group’s creation of a US “shell” charity to gather US funds and funnel them abroad is the most obvious of “foreign conduits” in IRS parlance, #1 on its list of no-no’s. IRS revocation of 501(c)(3) status not only eliminates tax breaks for ordinary donors, but eliminates entirely crucial major gifts from private foundations like the Randolph Foundation, Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and the Paul E. Singer Foundation.
CCC seems to break many rules. Foreign citizen Lomborg is simultaneously CCC founder, president, and highest-paid employee. Most people are a little more subtle when trying to create conduits, as in this example, where the IRS determined someone was not eligible for 501(c)(3) status, despite various stratagems to obscure the relationships.
Perhaps with his new $4 million Australia Consensus Center (covered here, here, here) Bjorn Lomborg may pick a better site than a US shipping storefront, since he’ll receive much more taxpayer money, directly, courtesy of the Australian government. That does seem simpler…….http://www.desmogblog.com/2015/04/26/copenhagen-consensus-center-real-charity-foreign-conduit
Nuclear Regulatory Commission Opens Probe at Indian Point Federal agency’s involvement follows fire at plant WSJ By JOSEPH DE AVILA May 19, 2015 New York state is renewing its call for tougher oversight of electrical transformers at the Indian Point Energy Center after the third failure in eight years of one of the power-transfer devices at the nuclear plant.
A transformer for Indian Point’s unit 3 exploded and caught fire May 9 in the nonnuclear section of the power plant 30 miles north of New York City. No one was hurt and no other equipment damaged.
The state’s call for more intensive inspections comes as EntergyCorp., the owner of Indian Point, seeks to renew its operating licenses for units 2 and 3 with the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The state has opposed the renewal……..http://www.wsj.com/articles/nuclear-regulatory-commission-opens-probe-at-indian-point-1432054561
Income-guarantee request envelops Davis-Besse nuclear plant in controversy again, By Dan GearinoThe Columbus Dispatch • Tuesday May 19, 2015 In a debate over an alleged “coal bailout” for power plants, Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Station doesn’t quite fit.
And yet, it is among the seven Ohio plants — and the only one that doesn’t run on coal — whose owners are seeking income guarantees from state regulators.
This is the latest in a lifetime of controversy for the FirstEnergy-owned plant, which produced its first electricity in 1977.
“The nuclear industry cannot operate with profit in the marketplace, so they’re looking for these different schemes,” said Allison Fisher, outreach director on energy issues for Public Citizen, a nonprofit consumer advocate. “They’re trying to find a way to shift the risk from the company to the consumer.”
Hearings will begin next month for FirstEnergy’s request for an income guarantee, a case before the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio that already has thousands of pages of testimony and dozens of participants.
The PUCO has ruled on similar proposals from American Electric Power and Duke Energy, rejecting the plans but saying that their underlying concept was legal; both decisions are being appealed. AEP also has a separate proposal that is still pending……….
Under the proposal, the plants would have a guarantee of enough income to cover costs plus a profit. If the actual income is less than a specified level, then consumers would pay the difference through a charge on their bills……..http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/business/2015/05/19/debate-returns.html
The order came a week after the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati overturned the 2013 sabotage convictions of Sister Megan Rice, 66-year-old Michael Walli, and 59-year-old Greg Boertje-Obed, and ordered resentencing on their remaining conviction for injuring government property. The activists have spent two years in prison, and the court said they likely already have served more time than they will receive for the lesser charge.
On Thursday, their attorneys petitioned the court for an emergency release, saying that resentencing would take weeks if normal court procedures were followed. Prosecutors on Friday afternoon responded that they would not oppose the release, if certain conditions were met………..http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2015/5/16/megan-rice-anti-nuclear-nun-activist-to-be-freed.html
Paris 2015: Canada aims to cut emissions by 30 per cent by 2030, SMH May 16, 2015 Josh Wingrove Canada pledged to cut greenhouse-gas emissions by about a third by 2030 in a move quickly dismissed by environmentalists and energy analysts as lacking detail and unrealistic without major policy changes.
Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq announced the new target Friday in Winnipeg, ahead of a UN climate summit in December. In effect, Canada pledged to reduce its emissions to an estimated 515 metric megatons by 2030, partly by introducing new regulations on its oil and gas sector. The country isn’t on pace to meet its previous goal, and predicts emissions will grow — not shrink — over the next five years.
Emissions were 726 megatons in 2013, the most recent year for which data is available, and government figures show emissions are set to grow leading up to 2020. Canada now plans to cut emissions by 29 per cent between 2013 and 2030, based on Bloomberg calculations using public data.
To meet the new target, Canada “intends to develop” regulations to cut methane emissions from the oil and gas sector, in tandem with US regulations, Aglukkaq said. Canada will also introduce regulations on emissions from natural gas electrical plants, her department said in a news release without specifying what the rules would include.
The government offered no projections of what reduction in emissions the new measures would produce, or how soon the new initiatives would be introduced.
Australia is yet to reveal its post-2020 emissions plans with the Abbott government expect to reveal its goals next month.
Under the 2009 Copenhagen Accord, Canada pledged to cut emissions by 17 per cent from 2005 levels by 2020, or to 611 megatons, but is on pace to fall well short of its goal. Environment Canada figures show Canada’s emissions are projected to increase between 2015 and 2020, when they are projected to reach 727 megatons.
That means Canada’s Copenhagen pledge was to reduce emissions by 125 megatons between 2005 and 2020, whereas Canada is only on pace to cut them by nine megatons……
The US has pledged to cut emissions by at least 26 per cent from 2005 levels by 2025 — a lower target with a more aggressive timeframe. Mexico has pledged to cut emissions by 25 per cent by 2030, though its per-capita emissions are already 74 per cent lower than Canada’s, according to World Bank emissions data. http://www.smh.com.au/environment/climate-change/paris-2015-canada-aims-to-cut-emissions-by-30-per-cent-by-2030-20150515-gh311n.html
Scrap War: US May Compete Nuclear Ship Disposal Deal, Defense News By Christopher P. CavasMay 17, 2015 WASHINGTON — All nuclear-powered US Navy ships go to die at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Bremerton, Washington. That’s been an immutable mantra since the early 1990s, when the shipyard developed a recycling plan to dispose of old submarines and cruisers that were piling up as they reached the end of their lives.
Under the shipyard’s direction, shipboard nuclear reactors are defueled, the reactor vessels and their compartments are removed, encased and barged to the federal government’s Hanford Nuclear Reservation in southern Washington State, and the ships’ remains are cut up for scrap and recycling. The program has successfully disposed of more than 100 nuclear submarines and eight nuclear cruisers.
As the only US-certified facility with experience recycling nuclear ships, the plan has long been that, sometime in early 2017, Puget Sound would take on its largest disposal job by far — that of the aircraft carrier Enterprise, one of the most famous ships of the Cold War era.
But now, the Navy is considering throwing open the job to commercial bidders — a clear break from prior practice that could open the nuclear ship-disposal world to more competition……….http://www.defensenews.com/story/defense/naval/ships/2015/05/17/aircraft-carrier-enterprise-newport-news-puget-sound-naval-shipyard-nuclear-shipbreaking-ship-scrapping-recycling-brownsville-disposal-navy-navsea/27321139/
Exelon’s Pepco Takeover Fuels Fear That Nuclear Will Trump Solar, Blomberg, by Mark Chediak & Jim Polson 14 May 15 Fear that Exelon Corp. could slow the growth of solar power in Maryland to protect its high-cost nuclear reactors is fueling a push to block its planned acquisition of Pepco Holdings Inc.
The debate pits the state’s top lawyer, who has urged regulators to reject the sale, against the nation’s biggest nuclear power plant owner. The Maryland Public Service Commission is scheduled to rule on the $6.8 billion merger Friday.
If approved, Exelon will supply more than 80 percent of the state’s utility customers, giving it extraordinary market clout to favor its aging nuclear fleet over renewables, Attorney General Brian E. Frosh has argued. Exelon, based in Chicago, has countered with a promise to develop 15 megawatts of solar power in the state, and to create a $19.8 million fund to encourage investment in rooftop solar and energy efficiency.
In Illinois, where three Exelon reactors are at risk of closing, the company has blamed the growing use of wind power for crimping revenue, and it supports a requirement that utilities buy some power from “low-carbon” plants that include nuclear reactors.
“The evidence shows that Exelon intends to control the pace of development of distributed energy resources,” Frosh said in a filing with the commission. Solar and wind, “while threatening to Exelon’s central station merchant power plants, offer unprecedented and transformative opportunities for Maryland consumers.”…….http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-05-15/exelon-s-pepco-takeover-fuels-fear-that-nuclear-will-trump-solar
Scarier still is the part of the TPP that will give corporations the right to sue governments for lost profits. The proceedings will be conducted before secret corporate tribunals.
Foreshadowing nasty corporate suits are what is happening now in Australia, Egypt, and Germany.
Philip Morris, an American tobacco company, is suing Australia for prohibiting the sale of cigarettes to underaged smokers in that country.
He has convinced himself that American labor cannot compete with labor forces in the rest of the world, particularly in Asia. He said, “That ship has already sailed.” Obama has given up. He has given in to corporate interests who want things both ways for the sake of short term profit. Corporations, who recognize no international boundaries, insist on producing goods for the lowest possible cost in labor. That means, first of all, outsourcing and building factories in other countries. Secondly, they insist on this country importing those goods for sale here in the United States with no tariffs.
What has this way of doing business cost us already? Start with 60,000 factories in this country since the year 2000. Also disappearing is the millions of manufacturing jobs that went along with these factories. Then comes the gigantic trade deficit that we as a country has been running for decades. Lately, the trade deficit (the difference between what we sell to other countries and what other countries sell us) has been running around 50 billion dollars a month. Our wealth is flying out the door at an incredible rate, and we, suckers that we are, are left holding the bag. Congressman Alan Grayson of Florida has helped produce a short film which explains it all. I urge you to take a look at it…….
Now, in addition to the economic loss that has already occurred, our president is asking us to give away even more. He wants us to do it on a fast track in Congress, which means no real debate, no amendments, no changes whatsoever to an agreement negotiated by corporate executives and corporate lobbyists. Continue reading
It’ s harder to find real new about nuclear power, than it is for renewable energy. Renewable energy is the future, and this website should, theoretically, be following the excitinfg developments in both large and small-scale wind and solar developments.
However – it IS “nuclear-news” – so from now on, I’m concentrating on the more strictly “nuclear” issues, and just pointing to headlines and brief notes for that other topic – however tantalising its news:
California’s Renewable Energy Plan Will Save $51 Billion a Year by Andrew Burger on Friday, May 15th, 2015 California’s new renewable energy target, proposed by Gov. Jerry Brown during his inaugural address in January, is not only achievable: It would result in as much as $51 billion in annual savings for the state’s residents, according to an analysis by Strategen Consulting that “quantifies the economic and societal impacts” of the governor’s proposed goals.
Ahead of schedule when it comes to meeting a current goal of sourcing 33 percent of electricity from renewable sources by 2020, Gov. Brown proposes raising the state’sRenewables Portfolio Standard (RPS) target up a big notch – to 50 percent by 2030…….http://www.triplepundit.com/2015/05/ca-govs-renewable-energy-plan-will-save-51b-year/
UK Renewable Energy Investment And Generation Surges In 2014, Clean Technica May 15th, 2015 by Joshua S Hill A new report shows that renewable energy investment in the United Kingdom hit a record high in 2014, with electricity generated from renewables increasing by 20% as well.
In fact, in 2014, not only did renewable energy investment hit a record of £10.7 billion, but renewable jobs increased by 9% as well…..http://cleantechnica.com/2015/05/15/uk-renewable-energy-investment-generation-surges-2014/
Renewable energy storage will end capacity payments Capacity payments and fossil energy can be made redundant by electric cars, writes Teodora Serafimova. The European Commission recognises the important role energy storage technologies will have to play in the future energy system, both in its Energy Security Strategy of May 2014 as well as in its more recent Energy Union strategy. Bellona has long been convinced of the necessity of energy storage in the face of a rapidly growing share of renewables in the energy mix. With such storage technology quickly materialising, notably from the electric car industry, it’s time to take stock of the changes this will bring.
Energy storage does not only hold the potential for us to make better use of renewable power, but in doing so it also allows us make less use of fossil power. Being less dependent on fossil power erodes the case for subsidies like capacity payments keeping this industry alive.
Energy storage technologies, such as compressed air storage and batteries, can store low-cost renewable energy when the system experiences oversupply, then release this energy to the grid when it is more needed, such as at night in the case of solar or when the output of wind power falls below demand.
In short, energy storage gives renewable energy the flexibility it currently lacks. ……http://www.euractiv.com/sections/transport/renewable-energy-storage-will-end-capacity-payments-314609
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